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Cicero Reviews Canlis; The Stranger Goes Vegan (and Crazy) for Violet Sweet Shoppe

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[Photo: Canlis/Kelly O. at The Stranger]

Canlis, Seattle's beacon of fine-dining, gets the red carpet review treatment this week. The Seattle Times finds that though the restaurant has evolved since its inception in the 1950s, it manages to stay true to both its soul and loyal clientele. Says Providence Cicero, who admits to being recognized on both of her visits:

We should all age as gracefully as Canlis. The elegant, art-filled aerie feels timeless. Mark and Brian Canlis say, "It's because Canlis keeps changing that people love it." I love Canlis because the more it changes the more it stays the same. There is nowhere else like it in Seattle.

Of chef Jason Franey, who was plucked from Eleven Madison Park about five years ago, Cicero says his "own seasonal creations are meticulously engineered" and he "eased the kitchen into the modernist era." The only hiccups: "Franey's late-September tasting menus opened with three knockout courses. Then when they should have crescendoed, they stumbled, with the hard raviolo on the vegetarian menu and rubbery smoked chicken breast on the other."

Three and a half stars.

The Stranger ditches the dairy and eggs this week as they head to Violet Sweet Shoppe, "a very small, very adorable bakery in the University District that has been open since May." Says Megan Seling of the shortbread:

The golden cookies, flavored with things like lemon, vanilla bean, rose water, lavender, and pistachio (my favorite), are perfectly crispy and some of the best shortbread cookies I've ever had.

And the snickerdoodles:

The cookies should be flat, with crispy outsides and tender insides, not at all cakey, and that's just how Violet's snickerdoodles are! But they're egg-free? HOW DO THEY DO IT?

From a mini pumpkin bundt cake with cinnamon frosting, to a brown-sugar scone and a couple chocolate peanut-butter cups ("the richest, most decadent peanut-butter cup I've ever eaten"), the only complaint was about the shortbread, "both the vanilla and lemon could've had stronger flavors, but the lavender was a hit."
· Canlis [Official Site]
· Violet Sweet Shoppe [Official Site]
· Classic, Classy Canlis Changes Yet Stays the Same [Seattle Times]
· Violet Sweet Shoppe's Secret [The Stranger]


2576 Aurora Avenue North, , WA 98109 (206) 283-3313 Visit Website